PH Navy unit says it got no report of harassment by China Coast Guard vs Filipino fisherman
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—The Naval Forces West (Navfor West), the Philippine Navy unit with jurisdiction on Pag-asa Island, had denied there was a case of harassment by a Chinese coast guard ship against a Filipino fisherman from the town of Kalayaan, Palawan province.
“Per verification at Pag-asa detachment, there was no reported incident of harassment of fishermen in the sandbars,” said a statement from Navfor West.
“Your Naval Forces West, especially the security personnel deployed in different KIG features, continue to uphold and protect the safety of our Filipino fishermen,” said the statement.
It was issued after the fisherman, Larry Hugo, 42, reported through social media that he was harassed as he was headed to a fishing ground near Pag-asa on Monday (Jan. 25).
He said the Chinese ship blocked his way, forcing him to turn around for fear of being attacked with water cannon which could cause his boat to sink.
The local government of Kalayaan has declined to comment on Hugo’s report, saying it has yet to be verified.
Hugo’s report came just days after China’s highest legislative body, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, gave approval for the Chinese Coast Guard to “use any means necessary” to assert China’s claim of owning nearly the entire South China Sea, including territorial waters of the Philippines.